Shades of Gray?
So many women that I’ve talked with or heard from lately are saying that they are ready to give up the coloring processes and learn to love their hair the way it is now. Often that means a form of gray, silver, or white hair. The situation with wig wearers is a bit different. We can change our color any time and with little fuss. But the same desire might still be there. How can we make such a drastic change with ease?
Shades of silver, gray, or white don’t have to mean “old” or mean any age. However, the challenge seems to be learning how to make that change. If you have worn a brunette wig for five years, should you just turn up one day in a lovely gray or silver wig? What if you’ve not shared your wig journey with others who see you every day, should you have a transition color/wig? There is no one answer to that question. It all depends upon your comfort level. Fortunately, there are resources to support any decision you make.
If you do decide to “just go for it” get help if you think you need it—learn what brands carry the wig styles and cap construction that you prefer if you are new to wigs. If you already know all about caps, styles, brands, and what works best for you, then you are ahead of the game. All you need to decide is if the colors you are considering are found in the styles that you like…or is it time to re-visit other styles that might have colors that you love?
Tips from the professionals about choosing a color/shade and style:
- Go for a soft color, and one with dimension. Nothing screams “fake” like a flat solid root-to-tip color with no variation.
- Color should always be multi-tonal, especially as you age. That is true for blondes as well.
- Remember, in most cases, we lose a “plumpness” in our faces as we age. The styles that looked good on us at thirty might look a bit harsh now. Example: a too-blunt bob, close to the jawline and with no layering can be a very severe look.
- Go for a layered style, and one a little below the jawline.
- Tone—is so important, and wig wearers must learn how to care for their wigs to protect the wig’s color/tone.
If we must look at new styles to find the colors we like, there is that question again: Short or long as we age? This is the question that never goes away. Ask yourself if your style makes your face look younger or older. Does the too-long hair pull the face down? Would you look better with a shorter, more face-flattering style? So many people get caught up in the look of the wig on a model—we need to be interested in how the wig looks on us with our face shape, and our coloring—huge difference.
Don’t be afraid to claim your color—and don’t be afraid of shades of gray! Try different shades/tones and get help if you need it. There are in-between colors that you can choose, but often the salt/pepper colors age us more than a lovely silver or white. It’s all about shade/tone, color, and style.
If you had rather take the plunge more slowly, there are some lovely options. Ellen Wille Smoke Mix and Pearl Rooted are lovely, and Raquel Welch Silver and Smoke, Iced Granita, and Silver Mist come to mind.
Skin Tone! We must not forget that our skin tone will play a big role in how we look in these shades of gray, silver, or white. Yes, it is ever important as we age because our skin tone changes. Know your skin tone as it is NOW and that will help you key in on colors/shades that will look best on you. For example, if you have a cool skin tone you likely already know that ashy colors, shades of honey, beige, and gray work well for you. Just remember, the tone and color gradient, and dimension are the keys for gray shades just as it is for any color. Flat equals fake.
I am reminded of two in particular that I have recommended before when writing about the fear of going gray. Just two of my favorites. Notice the dimension, and the shadings. No flat, drab and lifeless look with these!
Until next time, here I am thinking that I might go gray…maybe silver.
Who is in Your Head?
(Wig shown above: Ready For Takeoff by Raquel Welch)
Of course, we all want to have approval from those we care most about, and that includes friends as well as family. From the time we were old enough to look around and observe others and our surroundings, we have been making judgments about what we see. It’s human nature to compare ourselves to our peers and to want to be as accomplished, attractive, and smart as those around us. And while we know we will be judged, sometimes we are our own harshest critic.
But what about your other critics? Did you grow up in a family with a strict parent with his or her own unbreakable code of what was good, bad, right, and wrong? Did your mother critique your looks, and did she key in on any perceived flaws and not mention the good? Does your spouse or significant other feel free to point out their opinions about everything, including your hair, clothes, and ideas, even if they are not asked? Do you have a friend or friends who you can count on to give you the once over and then point out everything they consider, not quite right? Or maybe that’s a sister, cousin, or other relatives. How do you take this in? Can you brush it off, or does it start to color how you think about yourself?
Even someone with a lot of confidence can be affected by constant negativity.
This is a common complaint with new wig wearers: “my husband/son/daughter/sister doesn’t like the wig on me.” Or hearing… “The wig makes you look….” fill in the blank. Sometimes, our friends or family member can’t even see that what they are saying is bothering us. Maybe they think their “constructive criticism” is something you want. Growing up I had an aunt whose mission in life seemed to be pointing out all of everyone’s flaws, to our faces, and with an audience. It was a great learning experience for me because I was careful to never do this to anyone. And I learned that not everyone’s opinion mattered.
As hard as it is, it is up to us to draw the boundary lines. Other than avoiding these people, is the only way to stop it. However, if we are asking for their input, we must learn to weigh what they say. How much weight does what they say carry for us? Is it out of proportion to reality? Are the person or people making critiques an expert on wigs or hair, for example? Are they just prejudiced when it comes to a color like blondes for example (do they love them or hate them)? Either way, it has no bearing at all on the blonde wig you just bought. Is it all about them or our wig purchase? It is crucial to figure that out before we take in any critique of our wigs.
The wig journey: No one warns you before you start down this path that you will have a psychological journey as well. It can be hard at times. Not only must you deal with your hair loss issues and try to wade through the vast amount of information on wigs, but you must also find one that you hope will work for you. One is rarely prepared to face an onslaught of opinions that others feel free to give.
My best advice is to always consider the source. Along with that, seek out help from professionals. Watch the wig demos on the WigStudio1 page, follow the reviewers on their pages, and soon you will feel more confident. It took me a while to learn that I just couldn’t take a wig from the box, plop it on my head and have it look like the woman in the ad. I had to get over the fear of “messing with it” and I had to learn how to style it.
Once you educate yourself about wigs, you will have the confidence to listen to your voice and learn to filter out others that have no real bearing on the issue at all.
Have a great holiday season, and remember, it is a good time of year to step out of our rut. If like me, you tend to stick with what you know works, sometimes you need a little incentive to try new styles and colors. It was like Christmas for me last weekend as I washed and put away three wigs and got out three others to start a new rotation. That reminded me that change is good and that trying new styles and colors can be very good.
For some reason, the shorter styles were calling my name. I put on Raquel Welch’s “Ready for Takeoff” and the cap was so comfortable that I hardly knew I had it on. Now, that makes me very happy.
Are You in a Wig Style or Color Rut?
(Wig shown above: 100% Human Hair Bang by Raquel Welch)
Yes, it is bound to happen. But we are still shocked and confused when it does. One day we are so happy with our wig, our look, and we are comfortable. Then the next day or the next, we look in the mirror and think, hum, am I in a rut? Suddenly that look, that wig that you loved, and still do, just looks sort of boring.
We all know that this happens in all areas of our life. We become tired of our clothes often long before they are old. We want to try new paint colors in our homes and change out the furniture in the living room. So, why should we be surprised that we sometimes need a change of hairstyle and/or color?
Changing your hair/wig style and color is so much easier and less costly than getting new furniture or a new wardrobe, so let’s take a look at that process. How do you decide what to try next? Are you ready to get out of your comfort zone? Or if you are like me, ready for a slight move but nothing to distract.
The great thing about wigs, and especially buying a wig from Wig Studio 1, is that you can get a lot of help before you make the big decision to buy a new wig in a new style and/or color. Between the just-for-you FaceBook group with input from staff and other wig wearers, you can learn about first-hand experiences and likely see a picture or two of how that wig looks on a real person.
I know that for me, seeing other wig wearers, and learning about their experience with certain brands and styles has been most helpful. The wig reviews on FaceBook and the reviewers on the YouTube channel are invaluable. Take advantage of all these resources because it might make your decision easier. It did for me.
In the end, the decision will be yours, and sometimes it helps to just give it some time. It will be to our benefit to do our homework, and to remember what it was we liked about our current wig(s) in the first place. What are we bored with exactly—color, style, length, wig cap? Once we have a clear idea of what it is we want to change it will help us narrow down our options.
One of the great things about wig-wearing is the ease with which we can make changes to our looks. I know what colors and lengths look best on me, and when I want to branch out, I normally go to something in the same color family and just change the style/length. This too can get boring, but I have two wigs sitting in boxes in my closet that I know I will never wear because I made an impulsive decision one day. But I also have a couple in boxes that I have recently re-visited and wondered why I had not been wearing them more often. The moral of the story, we do get bored, but we can also change our preferences. Though I know I will never wear the blonde wig with too much gold in it, I will very likely wear two other wigs I had put aside for reasons that I couldn’t recall when I was looking through my options.
I recently went for a longer style, and guess what? I loved it. As long as I have been writing about wigs, I can still be surprised. One of the many great things about wigs is that they let our imagination roam free. We can surprise ourselves as much as we can surprise others. Life is short, and we are often caught up in all we must do for others and ourselves, and sometimes we put ourselves last on all our lists. But if we are at our best, we can be our best for others too.
Don’t let yourself get into a rut with your style or color. Just do your homework, and don’t do it on a whim. When you are ready--change it up! Life is short. I will bet that, like me, you will be happy that you did. Embrace another version of your best self.
Me in my newest, Raquel Welch, “Crowd Pleaser” in shaded cappuccino.
Until next time,
Underneath the Pretty Hair
(Wig shown above: UPSTAGE WIG BY RAQUEL WELCH)
Most of us see what we are looking for; at first—the color of the wig, style, and length, and we imagine how it will look on us. It is only later that we think of what makes the wig what it is. The cap is vital: not only to our comfort, but it makes a difference in how the wig holds up. There are several types of caps, as most have learned by now.
Since the labor and materials used to create a varies, the price can be affected. It’s hard to talk about cap construction without talking about permatease. Some love it, some hate it, and some learn to appreciate it as necessary for some styles. Some manufacturers refer to it as “machine teased,” and that’s as good a name for it as any.
It is a structural component placed in some wigs to give it volume where the style demands. In reality, permatease is short matted fibers that are usually placed at the top of the wig to give it that permanent lift. In longer wigs, the fibers are placed/crimped to hide wefting and add volume. Most basic caps come with some level of permatease, usually in the crown area. Some with a monofilament crown or part may have some permatease but not as much as an open cap wig.
Love it or hate it, there are some pros to permatease. It helps maintain the style, and the less that you must style the wig, the longer it will last. It helps hide wefting. Because it is found more often in basic caps and open wefting, you have a wig more comfortable to wear in summer weather. Wefting allows for more air circulation. Of course, we need to also think about the cons. Since permatease is short fibers, the wigs heavy on permatease tend to come with flyaways. But they can be tamed, and over time they will flatten out on their own with a bit of help from your conditioner. The one thing that I hear most wig wearers complain about is too much volume due to the permatease. It makes the wig look too “wiggy” and unnatural. That’s the tradeoff it seems. Though some manufacturers seem to have caught on that wig wearers want more realistic looks, and the permatease that I have seen most recently has been done better.
If we don’t want to wear human hair wigs, for whatever reason, we are left to find our way to what works best for us. There are many benefits to synthetic wigs. They are more affordable than human hair wigs, and if given good care can last up to a. year, depending on the style. They come in many colors, and there are plenty of options of low or no permatease to choose from. Synthetic wigs are lighter than human hair wigs, and cooler, and can be more comfortable to wear. Your synthetic wig won’t react to the weather. Hot, cold, rainy, or dry, your wig will continue to look the same. My favorite thing about them is that they are easy to wear because they are easy to style. They have style retention, and with a bit of “training”, they can look great with a minimum of fuss.
Low maintenance is a lovely thing. Synthetic wigs are less delicate than human hair wigs and require less upkeep. But that doesn’t mean NO upkeep. To keep our wigs looking great, they still need TLC. Correct washing, drying, and styling products abound to help us with that.
So, whether you are a permatease lover or not, there is a wig (or many wigs) that’s right for you and your lifestyle. That is the real beauty of wigs—they are there for us in any color or style that we want, and we can put one on and be out the door looking great in minutes.
I have autumn fever already and have decided to go to a bit longer style. I have chosen a new wig, Racquel Welch, Upstage. Now, if I can just decide on a color…
What is your look for autumn? Ready for a new you?
Until next time,
False Expectations – Why Don’t I Look Like the Model?
A lot of us are guilty of looking at a wig model—lovely, great skin, good bone structure, and all the rest, and thinking, if only briefly and subconsciously…oh, this wig will make me look like that! I admit to doing that a little at the beginning of my wig adventure. Of course, we know that as beautiful as the wig might be, it is not magic. But I mention this because I know it can so easily cloud our judgement when picking out the best wig for ourselves. We get that picture of the model set in our head, and when we get the wig home, put in on, and there we are—not the model, and we can be disappointed. We do/will learn to buy the wig that is best for us eventually, but it can be frustrating along the way.
How do we deal with these false expectations? The best way is to be honest with ourselves. Is our face too round for that style that we love on the model? Is our neck shorter than the model’s and therefore making the wig longer on us, perhaps hitting us farther below the chin then we would have liked? Does that long hair on the model, so appropriate for her face shape, make our face look dragged downward? Does that pixie style on the model with the cute petite face make our larger and/or rounder face look even more so? What about color? Do we know our best colors, or are we open to making a few trial and error purchases?
Reality—that is the thing most of us want—we want to look as if we are not wearing a wig, so that means we need to wear the style and color that suits us best. We want people to look at us and see us, not a wig. As to age bias, it is not to say that no one over a certain age should rule out all longer wigs, or certain styles, not at all. We need to be comfortable with what we will look like in those lengths and styles. If we feel confident, we will look confident; and that can make a huge difference in how people see us.
As you have likely heard or read, it is important to see real people in these wigs. That is why, I always encourage everyone to look for the wig they like on every available media outlet. See it in different lights and on different people. Get the model’s photo out of your head and try to see how it will look on you. Your experience will be a better one with a bit of pre-purchase planning. What are your expectations? It is important to come to terms with that, and eventually you will.
In the end, it is all about being honest with ourselves and combining what we like with the reality of who we are. We all know that our face changes with age. Our skin color even changes as pigments fade, and the muscle tone in our face is less defined. We have that to deal with along side the development of creases and wrinkles. But don’t despair, a wig can make all the difference in how you look. You likely know that by now or will soon if you are new to wig wearing. The trick is finding the right wig for you and just you. Who cares what the model looks like or anyone else?
I want to wrap up with a bit about fear. I don’t care who you are, how beautiful or accomplished, or how secure you are—the first time out of the house with your first wig can bring you to your knees. No matter how good you think you have secured it, how good it feels, or how good you believe you look in the style or color, you begin to doubt. Doubts lead to fear, and fear leads to paralysis. Just know this—most people are too busy worrying about what they look like or what they are having for dinner, or if they need to lose ten pounds. In other words, we are pretty busy caring about ourselves. No one is going to be thinking about wigs—but you.
So, the sooner you get out there and go about your life in your wig, the better. It will just become part of you, and you won’t think about it again. You’ll be glad you look so nice and that it didn’t take an hour to fix your hair.
In the end it is all about you and your situation and life, so what you decide about the first time out with a wig is very personal. Everyone must tackle this one for themselves and make the best decision for their circumstances. Have you just been dealing with thinning hair and feel that you can wear a wig and won’t get a lot of notice from friends and colleagues? Or will the wig be such a change that now you must prepare for comments, questions, and how you want to address them? Think this through before your first time out the door. Two of my go-to wigs below:
It’s that Time Again—Wig Wearing in Summer
Yes, it’s a challenge no matter what you do. Adding another layer or two of material on your head will make it warmer. This is the time of year that I am glad that I don’t have to put anything between my head and my wig. My security measures start and stop with two bobby pins. I know this is not the case for many. I am lucky to find such a good fit with the two wigs I wear most of the time (both by Raquel Welch): Muse and Ready for Take Off. I have a thing about caps because my scalp is so sensitive, and another reason that I am glad I can manage security without glue, tape, and other helpers. But still, a wig on my head in summer is something to think about.
I work from home now so I don’t wear a wig all day long anymore as I did a few years ago (ah, the 10-hour days), but I have found that when I do wear them I am even MORE aware of having something on my head. It’s as if my scalp is saying, “What’s this? Get it off!” So for me, the cap construction is the key, that and the fit. There is nothing worse than a scratchy cap on top of your sweaty head. Well, I’m sure there are worse things, but when it happens you can think of nothing else but pulling the offender off your head—fast.
When I considered style, color, and length, I had to think of cap construction as even more important. I didn’t learn this until my third wig. I didn’t know how uncomfortable some caps could be if the fit and construction were wrong for my head. Something else I learned along the way: Along with the great comfort of 100% hand-tied caps, and they are amazing and lighter, there is also a minus (isn’t there always?). There are no wefts to aid in air circulation. For me, the tradeoff is worth it because I am not outside running around much. But for you, it might be very different. You may have to be creative about how to live with wigs during the summer months.
There are ways to get through the summer with wigs. If you are a seasoned wig wearer you have likely experimented enough to know what you must do, but if you are approaching summer as a new wig wearer, there is a learning curve, but there is help.
· Go for shorter styles, or if you must have longer, go with the one you can put up off your neck.
· Remember synthetics are cooler than human hair wigs.
· Try basic wig caps (the coolest construction); the open wefts allow air to flow through.
· Use accessories to control the volume around your face and neck.
· Try wig bands. They can help reduce cap pressure and make you more comfortable. Some have a silicone strip and can hold the wig in place.
· For short outdoor events, leave the full wig behind and think about a scarf or a cap with attachments. These are great for sitting outdoors in sun and wind when you don’t want to put a cap or scarf on top of your wig.
· Check out the wig cap liners.
Advice from my hairdresser: (who says he has been asked about this a lot from his clients)
· Don’t put your wig up in ponytails – it pulls the hair out. Better to secure an up-do on top of your head.
· Don’t go into the swimming pool or ocean with a wig that you want to keep after that dip. If you run back to the bathroom and washed it immediately you might save it after an ocean dip, but once chlorine gets on the wig fibers, it’s about done.
· Make sure you wash your wig more in the summer. All the sweat and products build up fast and can cause more wig damage than washing it more often.
· Give your head/scalp a break as often as you can. Take the wig off when possible during the summer and replace it with a scarf around the house or one of those softies. Your scalp will thank you for it and your wig will last longer.
I was in my “wig room” yesterday aka my closet, and was looking for Ready for Take Off; (I have it in two colors) and love. I had not worn them for a while and put one on for the day. I was halfway through the day before I remembered I had it on, and that was because my neighbor commented on how cute my haircut was and that it made me look ten years younger. Then I remembered…this is why I have two Ready for Take Off wigs. This style and cap construction (100% hand-tied) is light, and comfortable, and I can forget I have it on. Now that is worth the money, that is worth the time and care required. And besides, I look cute in it, and ten years younger. I may now get it in more colors.
Until next time, stay cool.
NEW WAVY DAY WIG BY RAQUEL WELCH!
WAVY DAY WIG BY RAQUEL WELCH
Have you heard? Raquel Welch's NEW wig Wavy Day is available NOW!
ORDER TODAY! Available in over 30 colors!
Wig Studio 1
RAQUEL WELCH INTRODUCES FOUR NEW WIGS!
CRUSHING ON CASUAL ELITE BY RAQUEL WELCH
We've stoked the fire on your not-so-secret attraction by adding a 100% hand-tied cap to really kick the romance into high gear. This style has a low-density, lighter weight look to fawn over with the same monofilament top you've come to love!
GO TO STYLE BY RAQUEL WELCH
This flattering favorite you'll turn to time and again - day or night! This versatile chameleon of a style complements any outfit thanks to its features that you can "zhuzh up." Its flexibility also allows you to wear this style smooth and polished. It has a hint of length around the face, and a monofilament part that extends to the crown with a cute texture at the nape.
ON IN 10 WIG BY RAQUEL WELCH
You will be amazed at this time-saving stunner. With built-in lift throughout this style, it is a low-density, long page look you'll love. Better yet, it styles in seconds! It is airy and comfortable for all-day wear. This style will be your new ready-to-go favorite.
UNTOLD STORY BY RAQUEL WELCH
This is a tale of carefree elegance. Untold Story is completely hand-tied with a monofilament top for uncontrived beauty. Turn the page on boring with an elegant eyelash bang, and the flair of textured ends that flaunt a subtle flip. With natural looking layers, this style delivers body without bulk.
Wig Studio 1
It’s Summer—Post-Covid awakening Let’s Re-Invent Ourselves Post-Covid
(Wig shown above: IN CHARGE WIG BY RAQUEL WELCH)
As we all ease back into more “normal” days…it’s time to put on a new look to celebrate it! It’s party time, graduations, weddings, and just fun get-togethers in our future. Why not put the “regular” you on the sidelines for now, and step out in a new you—a more glamorous you?
I don’t know about you but when I drag myself out of bed and get into the shower, I feel anything but pretty, much less glamorous. But when I come out of the shower, (if I don’t stare too hard into the mirror) I feel that I can once again tackle the world. That gets me through, and I’d bet it is the same for you. We feel renewed and revived, and the same feeling comes over me when I get a new hairstyle/wig, a new outfit, or shoes. It’s fun to get and try new things, and for at least a few minutes, hours, or days, every time we put on or see that something new, different, we feel better.
Life is tough sometimes, and we all have our issues, some more difficult than others. But experience has taught me that we really do live one moment at a time. It is the culmination of all these moments that make up our memories. I like to look back and remember that I had moments when I stepped out of my comfort zone to try something new. For me right now that means trying new kinds of exercise, a new kind of eating (intermittent fasting), and a new look. I want to walk by the mirror and stop for a second look because I look like myself, but not exactly. Maybe I look better, just a bit different. I want to liven myself up a bit, put a little glamour back in my life, a little romance (in looks if not in fact), and value my individual moments a little more.
I recently had to force myself out of the yoga pants or leggings, find my makeup, try on outfits, and wonder what had happened to my old self. As I prepared for a writers’ conference with real people (in person!), I saw myself through new eyes. After turning around in circles and lamenting the fact that I looked like I’d been in a cave for years, and that I liked nothing in my closet, I decided to do something that I hadn’t done in years. I splurged on myself and went to a spa for a facial, manicure, and massage. Emboldened from this new happy-me-high, I went on to my favorite department store to find a new outfit. Feeling like a new person, I went home with my “new self” and realized there was only one thing missing—new hair! I pulled my newest wig, Raquel Welch’s, In Charge out of my closet. It was a little blonder than I’m used to, a bit longer, and with a fuller look than I normally wear. But it was the absolutely perfect new look for me. Could I pull this off? I know how that sounds to any of you reading this and wondering what’s the big deal—so what if the wig was a bit different than the usual, I know you are thinking. But to me, it was a big deal. I had spent a lot of time in shorter hair, and kind of blah but efficient outfits, thinking this was “just fine” and who cared if I looked anything but “just fine” anyway?
I should have care. I should have paid more attention to how the things I wore made me feel. I should have cared that when I took the time to wear things that made me look better that I felt better. When I wore wigs that suited me better or made me look younger, current, and put together, and no pun intended, “In Charge”—the feeling filtered down through my entire day and everything I did. I had been hidden from the world during Covid and now that I was re-joining it, I had to look at myself differently. More importantly, I had to CARE about how I looked, felt, acted, and interacted with others now, and I needed to decide what that person would look like to the world. What we put out into the world—words, deeds, looks, attitude, all get reflected back to us one way or the other.
I wanted to put out good things and get good things back so along with my attitude shift, I had to shift my view of myself, and realize that it is not selfish to spend time on myself—the way I look, feel, and care for myself.
Yes, I re-invented myself for one occasion, but those people won’t ever know that. They will think that I looked that way all the time—that I’m confident all the time, and I can almost believe it too. Kicking myself into gear for this one event re-started my life again as I ventured back into the post-Covid world.
I urge all of you to care for yourselves too, every day and in all areas of your life. One of the easiest and fastest ways to change our look is with a new wig. I am now brave enough to step outside my comfort zone and try wigs that I thought were “too long, too blonde, too glamorous” and see the possibilities.
Summer is here, so go new, go pretty—
Until next time, look at these options!
Coming to Terms with Hair Loss – and the grieving process
It goes without saying that hair loss – regardless of gender – can be devastating. It can dent a person’s self-esteem and negatively affect their overall quality of life.
“Studies on the psychosocial impact of hair loss have found patients’ self-esteem, body image, and self-confidence to be negatively impacted.” 1. (Dr. Francis) “Known psychosocial complications include depression, low self-esteem, altered self-image, and less frequent and enjoyable social engagement.”
It seems experts are in agreement, however, that women are significantly more likely to suffer emotionally as a result of hair loss.
Dr. Francis goes on to say: “Hair loss in a woman is so emotionally devastating that it can trigger a wide range of social and emotional issues that can negatively impact healthy daily living and overall quality of life. I have heard of women that retreat from social situations have diminished work performance, and even alter their healthy living – avoiding exercise, overeating, not treating other medical illnesses – due to their hair loss.”
But why do women see a greater emotional impact from hair loss than men? I think we all know the answer to that: society puts far more pressure on women to stay young, beautiful—perfect.
For older women, hair loss is perceived as accelerated aging and women have to deal with a sense of loss of virility and sexual attraction to their mate as well.
Various studies all agree that hair loss may lead to depression, anxiety, and social phobia.
- Depression can lead to a feeling of low mood, lack of interest or pleasure in activities, loss of energy, and sleep deprivation.
- Anxiety can cause excessive worrying, difficulty in controlling those feelings, and a feeling of heightened tension.
- Social phobia or avoidance behavior follows on from the experience of anxiety symptoms, leading to social and economic suffering.
- Social anxiety disorder is characterized by the fear of humiliation or being judged negatively in social situations as well as the avoidance of such social or performance situations.
These symptoms can have a severe impact on an individual’s mental health, ability to work or study, and well-being.
One question that I see over and over: how long does it take to come to terms with this? There is no one answer for everyone, as you might expect. It depends on your support system, age, how you go through the grieving process, and how well you handle the loss.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you won’t need time to process this and actually grieve—or that there is a time limit allowed. Hair loss is a devastating loss like so many other types of losses. You need time to grieve and go through the stages of loss until you come out at acceptance.
Developing a relationship with a good wig company, one that has advisors on all aspects of wig-wearing and hair loss, is vital. You need someone on your side, and the more the better. In a time when you might still be in the throes of the grieving process, it is hard to make decisions. That is when you need to fall back on people who can help see you through to that acceptance stage.
What I have learned: Grief isn’t linear. It doesn’t involve clearly defined stages … It carves long, meandering, and varied paths that popular myths do little to prepare us for.
So, it is crucial to remember that you will bounce around in the acceptance stage and “backslide” now and then back into the grieving process. This is normal, so don’t beat yourself up about it. In the end, we get on with things, and for me, that meant finding wigs that made me feel like me, or even better—wigs that looked better than my bio hair even at its peak! We all have challenges in life, some more serious than others. I try to keep that in mind every day and try to be grateful that my challenge is one that has support from places like WigStudio1, and others going on the same journey.
As we go into the summer months, I have already pulled out my Muse, Classic Cool, Straight up with a Twist, and In Charge. I am ready for it. Hope you are too, but if not, reach out for help. Here on this site and/or the private Facebook group. You will find a lot of support along with wig-wearing expertise.
Until next time,
- Dr. Shani Francis, American Academy of Dermatology and director of the Hair Disorders Center of Excellence at Northshore University Health System in Illinois